15 Years Because of YOU

All of us at Shewanders Photography are dancing in confetti of love and gratitude for celebrating 15 years behind the lens.

15 years of gratitude. 15 years of love. 15 years because of YOU.

We’d love to take you on a little vacation down memory lane to where it all began.

In 2002, a friend asked me to shoot her big day. I very reluctantly said yes. I had never shot a wedding before and it wasn’t something I wanted to do. By the end of the day, sparks were flying, adrenaline was pumping; I was in love. A couple months later, I got laid off of my job in advertising and started Shewanders Photography.

Mike started with Shewanders in 2008 and has blown my mind with his raw talent.  He took some photo classes when he was younger, but really claimed his voice at Shewanders.  He started as a third shooter and within a couple of years was shooting his own weddings.  I admire his voice and the sense of immediacy that he captures.  I often look at his work and wonder how he puts people at enough ease for them to be so natural in front of him.

There are a few things over the last 15 years that we couldn’t have lived without.

Suzanne says....

I write in my morning pages every day. It’s how I let go of all the chatter so that I can stay focused and understand what I want. The gems are hidden amidst the words of my everyday writing. It takes putting in the work day after day; that’s where the magic happens.

I ask what if it’s magical? Instead of, what if it’s too hard or expensive? Shewanders by nature has allowed me to live an untraditional lifestyle where I get to travel and work. Work to travel, work while traveling, the whole shebang. When I travel, I know who I am. It allows me to learn, grow, challenge myself, and respond to my environment. While exploring a new place, I want to fill each day to the brim with adventures.

I listen to music to make sense of my thoughts. Sometimes an idea or a problem will be floating around in my mind. It takes the emotional quality of a song or the lyrics to help me understand what I’ve been feeling or thinking.

I always allow myself time to daydream and listen to my inner voice (even when she sounds like a drill sergeant). This gives me the freedom to dream up new concepts and ideas from within, rather than what I see on Pinterest or Instagram.

Mike says...

I believe that love and a celebration solves any problem. Regardless of the stress of a wedding day or the never-ending tasks, when I live in the moment of a beautiful celebration, everything else disappears.

I always stand true to who I am. I never try to stand out, I just try to be myself. I do what inspires me and my clients so that we have a journey together.

I find peace and recharge in fitness and nature. Outside of photography, I do martial arts, running, and bodyweight training. I love the outdoors. Hiking and survival type training is a passion and hobby of mine.

I couldn’t survive without listening to my inner voice. This is driven by reading, film, and new experiences.

Both of us say...

We have constantly been inspiring ourselves so that we can create inspired work. We go to workshops, take classes, have art adventures with friends, and always experiment with new techniques.

We attribute our success to the most amazing friends in the industry and rising together. CAKE Bakery was my first industry friend. We love those ladies like no one else. Our companies grew up together.  We had our growing pains together and all of our successes.  Did you see them win Cake Wars?

We also couldn't have done it without finding our ideal clients.  Oh my gosh we love our clients. Seriously! So many people complain about their brides and grooms and we are head over heels for ours.  Our clients tend to be warm people who are grateful to have wonderful people in their lives.

A thousand thank you’s to all of our friends, at home in San Diego, and everywhere around the globe. Because of you, we have been able to create a life we love.

Cheers to 15 more years of art making and dream chasing!

A Bride's Story // Jenna + Ryan

We love hearing about our client's wedding day from their perspective. It's so fun to tell a complete story with their words and our images. Here are some snippets from a past bride, Jenna, who married her soulmate at St. Brigid Church in Pacific Beach followed by a reception at Scripps Seaside forum. 

"Our wedding was truly the best day. I am still smiling just writing and thinking about it and wish so bad we could go back and be guests at our own wedding! It felt personal and felt genuine to me and Ryan.  I loved the traditional aspect of getting married in the church and the moment of being on my dad’s arm and looking into Ryan’s eyes; they are two best men I know. I loved reading our vows and professing our love to each other in front of our best family and friends. I loved taking photos at the beach with everyone and having FUN! That was awesome. I loved that in every direction I looked all day there were family, friends and people from all different seasons of our lives. I loved just being with Ryan and looking at each other exclaiming, 'You are my husband!' and 'You are my wife!' " - Jenna

Describe the wedding, what was the style of the day? 
It was simple, natural and stunning. The weather was beautiful in the morning with a gorgeous golden sunrise and then became more overcast during photos and some light sprinkles of good luck rain in the afternoon. It was overwhelming, exciting, JOYOUS, loving - it felt like US. 

What did people wear? 
Girls wore pretty bright dresses with sweaters. Some dresses too short, some just right, some long and flowing. Navy,gray, or black suits for the guys.

Did you have a coordinator?  Was it rad?  Or if you didn't was there any moments you wish you did? 
I did everything leading up to the wedding, but having a day-of coordinator was a huge lifesaver. I didn’t have to think or worry about anything and we floated on a cloud all day.

Honeymoon?  Right away or you've got a year to do it? 
We went to Sedona, AZ for three days after the wedding. It was so nice to relax and unwind amidst the beautiful red rocks! We stayed at L’Auberge which was the perfect spot with little cottages and a creek side restaurant. We went to New Zealand for a full honeymoon a few months later which was EPIC. 

What was your first dance song? 
It was a mash-up of  "Forever and Ever, Amen" by Randy Travis and "Whatever It Is" by Zac Brown Band. Our DJ/Musician Michael Tiernan was unforgettable. 

Who did your florals and what were they?  What was your favorite part of the florals? 
Plenty of Petals. They were free-flowing and natural looking, but stunning. They were pastel colored with pops of bright colors. I loved my bouquet and also the long garland of eucalyptus and bunches of flowers on our sweetheart table.

Did you do a first look or wait to meet at the end of the aisle? 
We met at the end of the isle. I could see Ryan's face when I peered through the window right before my dad and I walked down the isle. We were both so nervous, but so excited to see each other. He accidentally tried to take me away from my dad before I could hug my dad or mom!

Where did you get your shoes? 
My mom found them on sale from Nordstrom’s and I was in love with them. My favorite color is green. They had to be green.

Did you do the chicken dance? 
No, but we did a conga line to locomotion!

Did you toss the bouquet?  Any funny stories there? 
I did! My sisters friend Cassie who came from Texas caught it. She literally didn’t put it down all night, took it with her on the plane home, and then framed it. She was pretty excited.

What song got everyone dancing? 
"Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars. 

Did the flower girl/ring bearer make it down the aisle? 
Yes, but there is a baptismal font in the middle of the isle (a small barrier to getting down) and when they got to it they didn’t know what to do and started doing loops around it! Finally someone from the front called them to walk the rest of the way down. 

What is the funniest story from your day? 
One of my favorite moments was right after the Best Man’s speech. Mark (best man) had talked about how him and Ryan (groom) were pretty nerdy in high school. He mentioned a time in the car on the way home from a football game that they made up hand motions to the Tom Petty song "Running Down a Dream". Right when Mark put the mic down to end his speech, the DJ in perfect timing cued up the song and everyone cheered for them to do the hand motions! It was hilarious and totally impromptu which made it even better.

I also forgot my veil at the Crystal Pier Cottages (where we stayed) and right before it was time to get everyone together to start walking down the aisle I realized it! My sister’s husband bolted to the car, to the pier and had the veil back to the church in less than seven minutes flat. We made it.

Lastly, I got food poisoning on Thursday night before our wedding and was in the ER getting IV’s on Friday morning. The doctor told me it was his mission to get me to the church on time! Haha it was not ideal but Ryan really had to prove his vows in those last 48 hours (in sickness and in health!).

Creativity Tell All // Ashley Noack, Coastyle Events

We love working with amazing vendors. So naturally, we love the ladies at Coastyle Events and their magical weddings. Ashley Noack, the self proclaimed Diva of Details, loves running weddings and also just running as part of her happy and balanced lifestyle.  

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?  
We get the majority of our inspiration from our clients and their style, personality and unique love stories.  We don't like to do the same design twice, so we try and get fresh ideas from places other than just Pinterest and wedding blogs.  Restaurants, stores, home design magazines and travel all inspire and spark creativity that we can translate into something beautiful and special for our couples.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?
I go on a run every morning to clear my head.  It really is my meditative time and gets me centered for the day.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?
Find your own unique niche and don't try to do what others are doing.  If you stay true to yourself, you will attract like-minded couples.  When you work with people you truly love, it makes you better at your job and more successful.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?
I always knew I was meant to be an event planner.  When you are doing what you really love and are naturally good at it, everything just feels right.  When I planned my first wedding I knew I had found my passion and calling. 

What season inspires you most?
Fall. This is often when wedding season is coming to an end, and I get to spend more time with family and friends.  I often take a trip this time of year with my husband.

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started? We did a wedding at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad while it was still open to the public. Tourists began to gather on the hill right behind the bride and groom's ceremony arch so they were in all the pictures and distracting the guests.  I literally went way off to the side where I thought no guests would see me, hiked up the steep hill and hopped the picket fence in my dress and heels to tell the tourists to move out of the way.  Afterwards, the bride's parents came up to me and said they saw me and couldn't believe I did that but were so grateful that I had!

What is the best advice you have been given?
Come from a place of gratitude for everything in your life and it will bring you more blessings.

What is your dream project?
I would love to plan a destination wedding in another country.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?
"I Choose You" by Sarah Bareilles makes our heart so happy.  Jill and I play this in the office all the time. We are obviously sappy romantics. ;)

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days? 
Game of Thrones and Mexican food.  I am also a huge movie buff and LOVE going to the movies, especially the luxury theatre!

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?
I would spend several months traveling throughout my favorite cities in Europe. 

Thank you, Ashley, for giving us a spoonful of insight into your bright world. 

xoxo
Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers